Skip to main content

Saint-Gobain uses cookies to deliver superior functionality and to enhance your experience of our websites. Information about our cookie policy can be found here.
Continued use of this site indicates that you accept this policy.


Young lives transformed by Saint-Gobain’s charity partnership with Barnardo’s

Saint-Gobain support care leavers to develop life and construction skills through the Barnardo's YouthBuild Academy

“It’s the best thing I have ever done in my life,” – those are the words of Luke, a graduate from the Barnardo’s YouthBuild Academy supported by Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland.

The Academy in Lewisham, London, has seen 57 care leavers graduate from the programme since its launch in 2018, with many developing life and construction skills.

On average, 40% of care leavers in England aged 19-21 are not in education, employment or training, compared to 13% of their peers. Yet at the same time, the construction industry is facing a skills shortage, with 157,000 new recruits needed by 2021 in order to keep up with demand.

Barnardo’s joined forces with Saint-Gobain and YouthBuild Ventures UK to develop the Academy to provide young people with the skills and training to become the future of construction while receiving support and pastoral care from Barnardo’s.

The 16-week programme features technical training in dry lining and essential life skills to boost their future careers, allowing them to achieve independence and employment.

The Academy, which was recognised at the Business Charity Awards 2019, has seen more than half of the graduates secure direct employment as a result of their training.

YouthBuild Roundtable at the Saint-Gobain Multi Comfort Centre


Richard Batley, HR and CSR Director, Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland, said: “The Academy plays an important part in addressing the skills shortage in construction by providing young people with the skills and training to become the future of construction.”

Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland colleagues have raised £1 million for Barnardo’s in the last decade, and we will continue to support Barnardo’s in 2021, as part of our purpose ‘making the world a better home’.

Richard added:

Our commitment to supporting care leavers into the construction industry is reflected in our new purpose; making the world a better home – providing the necessary skills for the next generation of construction professionals to innovate and build better living spaces.


Saint-Gobain has also collaborated with Barnardo’s Scotland to build transitionary accommodation for young people leaving the care system. The homes were constructed in Renfrewshire, Scotland, using Saint-Gobain materials and a holistic approach to design to ensure the homes are energy efficient and comfortable.

These self-contained homes, known as ‘Gap Homes’, will be available to care leavers for a period of up to two years, where they will receive support for independent living skills such as cooking and budgeting while building their confidence, resilience and support network.

You can read the full Barnardo's YouthBuild Academy 2020 report here.

Making the world a better home

Read Our Next Article